You have an idea and can’t find a mold for it anywhere, or you have a cherished object that you want to replicate… How? Simple, you make a silicone mold yourself! Sometimes these molds are simple, and sometimes you need to make several smaller molds and put the pieces together, but there is almost always a way to create a mold of your own.
One of the great benefits of using silicone for your mold-making process is the silicone’s versatility, durability, and long-lasting molds if used correctly.
A mold is a cavity that can be used to replicate another object. The original item used to manufacture several copies is the Master pattern. The object can be Jewelry, ornament, or your kid’s favorite toy. Or you can make an item yourself out of clay to have something unique.
Can You Make Your Silicone Mold For Resin?
The correct master pattern is needed to make the precise silicone mold. Not all master patterns can be used in creating silicone mold, but most can. The more your practice, the more diverse your molds can be.
To start, you want to choose something simple. Avoid using master patterns that can be porous or react to silicone (Tin cured silicone reacts with fewer items chemically than platinum-cured silicone does).
Ensure that the master pattern will withstand the mold-making process, soft and flexible items can get bent out of shape when removed from the silicone. Also, avoid items with holes that go entirely through the piece; when you have a lot of practice, those items can be used with modifications, but for beginners, it can be far too complicated.
For a DIY project, one might not have the sculpting expertise or 3D machinery in creating the master plan. Using already existing objects in your home can be a better option.
No matter what piece you use, it helps to use clear acrylic to seal the piece before you mold it so the silicone does not stick. You can purchase vintage and unique pieces at thrift stores to practice on; that way, if it breaks, you will not have lost a precious object. Once you have your master, we can start making our silicone mold.
What is needed to make resin molds?
- Liquid Silicone: Liquid silicone is a two-part polymer joined together by a chemical bond. The reaction is referred to as progression when the polymer is injected and molded.
This progression creates the structure’s permanent strength and shapes when fully cured. A commonly used silicone liquid is the Smooth-On OOMOO 30, but there are other alternatives available.
Make sure to find a silicone with at least a 400-degree Fahrenheit melting point, or higher, since resin can get very hot when curing.
- Mold Release: The release agent plays a significant role in the creation of silicone molds. The agent helps in the removal of the master pattern from the mold.
This prevents the mold from having severe defects and makes it easier to remove the master pattern. You can also seal the original piece in clear acrylic sealant to help with the release.
If you want a matte piece when finished, use a matte acrylic; if you want a shiny piece, use a high gloss acrylic.
- The container or Mold Box: The Master is placed in the container, and the silicone mold is poured into. This container needs to be larger than the master pattern by about 1/4th of an inch to half an inch.
- A plastic-covered work area: the silicone WILL spill; it makes clean up so much easier if you have a plastic-covered work area, even if you spread a trash bag or plastic wrap out on the space you are using.
- Gloves: silicone is tough to get off your skin in its liquid state.
- Cups and stir sticks: You need 3 cups in all, one for part A, one for part B, and the third to mix them in. Most liquid silicones are mixed by volume and take even amounts part A and part B.
How do you make resin art with silicone molds?
- The container is the first item to consider when you are ready to start making your own silicone mold. It can be made from a simple plastic container, whatever shape most closely matches your piece. The container needs to be nonporous with a flat bottom. Ensure the container is clean and free from debris.
- Lay out the master pattern in the container. The master pattern needs to be laid out flat in the container. For one-sided master patterns, the detailed parts need to be sided upwards. It helps to hot glue your piece to the bottom of the container in case it decides to try and float.
- Begin with spraying a light mist of the release agent, mold release. The mist must cover the entire space the silicone liquid will occupy. After applying the release agent, allow the mist to dry for 10 minutes.
- As you let the release agent dry, start the process of mixing the silicone solution per the manufacturer’s instructions. Thoroughly mix the solution to prevent any unmixed areas from ruining your mold. The air bubbles will release as your mold sets.
Depending on the size and quantity of the mixing solution, the solution can be mixed by hand or using an electric mixer, if using an electric mixer, mix it slowly to prevent excess air bubbles.
- Pour the silicone liquid gently. The goal is to start filling the bottom of the container first and gradually covering the master pattern. By pouring in the deepest part and letting the mold gently fill, you will get the least amount of trapped air. If you are concerned, your piece will have areas of trapped air or bubbles; you can paint those areas with a paintbrush covered in silicone. Ensure that the master pattern is fully covered. The curing might take anywhere from 1 hour to 24 hours depending on the silicone liquid used.
- The moment of truth during the de-mold phase when the mold is ready to be extracted from the master pattern. When done correctly, the mold can be used to cast concrete statues and figurines, resin pieces, or even food items if you use a food-safe silicone. Once you have used a mold for anything other than food, you can no longer use it for food items.
- Ensure you spray the release agent before pouring it into the mold the first time. Try to keep the mold lubricated between uses to keep it in good shape for the most extended time.
The steps provided above are for creating a one-sided master pattern and a one-sided mold with a flat side which is easier to manufacture than a 2 sided mold.
The two-sided mold’s complexity is due to the two pieces needing to be perfectly flush to produce the desired 3D products. For beginners, start with the one-sided mold. The flat bottom also makes it ideal for standing on its own.
How do you make a double-sided silicone mold?
What is needed to make double-sided mold:
- The Master Pattern
2 . The Mold Housing
3 . Liquid Silicone
4 . Mold Release
5 . Clay
- Place the master in your mold housing. Use the clay to cover half of the mold in the mold housing. The goal is to have half of the clay covering the master pattern while half of the master is sticking out of the clay.
- Begin with spraying a thin release agent layer on top of the master to allow for easy extraction of the silicone mold.
- Begin the process of preparing the silicone solution. Follow the manufactures instruction for mixing the liquid silicone. Thoroughly mix the solution to remove any air bubbles.
Depending on the size and quantity of the mixing solution, the solution can be mixed by hand or using an electric mixer.
- Pour the silicone solution gently into the mold housing on top of the clay. Ensure the master pattern is sufficiently covered. The silicone solution will cover one-half of the master pattern.
- Leave the mold to cure for 1hr to 24 hrs depending on the silicone solution used. Most silicone manufacturers will provide the time needed before removing the dried mold.
- Once the silicone is fully cured, you can separate the mold from the mold housing and master pattern. Remember that your mold is one-half of the master pattern. It’s okay to see the laters separating when extracting the silicone mold.
- The next step is flipping to the side covered by the clay in the mold housing. Cover the master pattern halfway as before while the side you intended to make the second mold sticks out.
- Apply the release agent to ease the silicone mold’s extraction.
- Prepare the silicone solution per the manufacturer’s instruction; the second time around, mixing the solution should be easier due to the experience gained earlier in integrating the solution.
- Begin pouring the silicone into the molding box. Ensure the master pattern is covered thoroughly and the solution evenly spreads out in the molding box.
- Leave the solution to cure, depending on the manufactures recommendation.
- Once fully cured, remove the silicone mold from the mold housing.
- The two pieces should be able to be flush and be able to create a 3D rendering of the master pattern.
Why is silicone a great molding material?
- Ease of use. Compared to other materials like plastic. Silicone is flexible to work with. This is very useful when removing the casted parts without damaging the mold. Silicone can cast objects from simple to intricately detailed artifacts.
- Durability: Silicone molds can be used several times. Depending on the number of uses, the more times the mold has been used, the likelihood of its degradation. To increase the mold’s lifespan, we encourage cleaning and having them dry thoroughly.
- Versatility: Silicone molds can make artisanal items like figurines, plastic Jewelry, and candles. The ability to mold almost everything at home is the reason we recommend using silicone as your go-to mold. Compared to metal mold or wood mold. Silicone molds are relatively easier to make.
- Heat Tolerant: Silicone molds can tolerate both hot and cold temperatures. The molds can be stored without degrading or warping. Avoid stacking the molds if you have different molds stored up. Stacking will compress the molds causing the loss of shape and detail,
Disadvantages of Silicone Molds.
Although flexible, when taken too far, silicone molds are known to tear; when stretched beyond structural limits, silicone molds are known to break.
Apply for sufficient mold release before pouring the liquid silicone.
Making silicone molds can be a great activity at home as the opportunity to make concrete art pieces for your home and garden. You don’t have to have shop or factory tools to make your silicone molds. The easy-to-follow steps above can be applied to make what your heart desires.
With multiple attempts at making your silicone molds, you’ll learn how to perfect your mold creation process and end up with the molds that suit your style and taste.
Why silicone is a better option than other materials
Silicone is well known for its durability and flexibility when used to create a mold. Below we are going to compare silicone with other materials that are used for the creation of molds.
Is silicone better than plastic?
Compared to plastic molds silicone molds are easier to use compared to plastic. The flexibility of silicone makes it easier to cast. Plastic mold can be rigid and require a seasoned individual to use. Plastic molds can be unforgiving when it’s your first time creating your mold, as they might crack or break if mishandled.
Silicone molds create smoother and shiner projects. Plastic projects require a coating to brighten and enhance the smoothens of their surface. The process of demolding of projects from the plastic mold can cause scratches on the surface due to plastic rigidity. Proper care is needed in extracting plastic creations.
The flexibility of the silicone mold allows for the ease of extraction and less scratching on the surface of the art project.
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